A blend of speed with a suffocating defense enabled the Ida Baker girls' soccer team to race past Fort Myers 6-0 Tuesday night in the District 4A-12 Tournament semifinals.
The win sends the No. 1 seeded Bulldogs to Thursday's championship game to host No. 2 seed Barron Collier, which eliminated Gulf Coast 5-1 in Tuesday's other semifinal match.
Using crisp passing to control possession and the pace of the game, the Bulldogs (21-1-1) scored three goals in the first 20 minutes to deflate the Green Wave (14-8-1). Franny Farella, who finished with two goals and one assist, tapped in a pass from Monique Elliott for the game's first goal just two minutes into the game. Elliott finished with one unassisted goal, the second of the game in the 17th minute, and three assists.
Ida Baker senior Monique Elliott (23) takes control of the ball during the first half of the Lady Bulldogs’ 6-0 win over the Fort Myers Green Wave Tuesday night. More photos are available online at: cu.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com.
Shannon Pearl then took over and knocked in three consecutive goals before halftime to establish a 5-0 lead.
"I don't expect that many goals from Shannon," said Bulldogs coach Dave Trepkowski. "I expect how she plays. She wants the ball and has played fantastic this season. The senior leadership on this team helps our young players."
The Bulldogs struck early in the second half as well with Farella taking a centering pass from Elliott out on the left wing and slipping it inside the far post. From there, the Bulldogs defense held the Green Wave at bay, rejecting their every advance.
Goalkeeper Angela Christiano had a total of five saves while her Green Wave counterpart Michelle Andrade saved 11 of 18 shots on goal.
"Tonight's score was unexpected," said Trepkowski. "Fort Myers is a really solid team. I look forward to playing Collier Thursday. We know how they play. They have a good scorer and a good keeper. I'm more confident going against Collier than I did tonight against Fort Myers."
The Bulldogs, who nailed down a berth in the regional playoffs with Tuesday's victory, are playing for their fourth straight district championship.
Cape Coral 3, Barron Collier 2: Cape Coral opened a 2-0 lead by halftime en route to a victory Tuesday over Barron Collier.
Miguel Martinez, Gerardo Carrizo and Laz Vega scored the Seahawks goals with Martinez, Oscar Camacho and Juan Cano credited with assists.
Goalkeepers Alex Colazzo and Austin Lachmann combined for 13 saves.
The Seahawks (15-1-3) play at South Fort Myers Thursday and host Ida Baker Friday night.
Ida Baker 2, South Fort Myers 0: Winston Marin and Filander Barahona provided all the scoring necessary in Ida Baker's victory Tuesday at South Fort Myers.
Marlon Herrera and Oscar Trujillo provided assists while goalkeeper Trey Crispin made 11 saves to preserve the shutout.